Saturday, May 11, 2013

Butterfly Dream: Mountain Shadow Haiku by Jane Reichhold

English Original

moving into the sun
the pony takes with him
some mountain shadow

American Haiku in Four Seasons, 1993

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She has had over thirty books of her haiku, renga, tanka, and translations published. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home has been translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane has also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, Geppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she has co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she has maintained an online forum – AHAforum. She lives near Gualala , California with Werner, her husband, and a Bengal cat named Buddha.


  1. Below is an excerpt from Jane's Frogpond essay, titled Haiku Techniques, which can be accessed at

    The Technique of Association - This can be thought of as "how different things relate or come together". The Zen of this technique is called "oneness" or showing how everything is part of everything else. You do not have to be a Buddhist to see this; simply being aware of what is, is illumination enough.

    the wild plum
    blooms again

    If this is too hard to see because you do not equate your ancestors with plum trees, perhaps it is easier to understand with:

    moving into the sun
    the pony takes with him
    some mountain shadow

    Does it help for me to explain how this ku came to be written? I was watching some ponies grazing early in the morning on a meadow that was still partially covered with the shadow of the mountain. As the grazing pony moved slowly into the sunshine, I happened to be focused on the shadow and actually saw some of the mountain's shadow follow the pony – to break off and become his shadow. It can also be thought that the pony eating the grass of the mountain becomes the mountain and vice versa. When the boundaries disappear between the things that separates them, it is truly a holy moment of insight and it is no wonder that haiku writers are educated to latch on to these miracles and to preserve them in ku.

  2. The last line is unexpected yet powerful. Cinematically speaking, this beautifully-crafted imagistic haiku reads like the poetic rendering of a long-take scene from a Western.

    In June, I'll publish a "To the Lighthouse" post, titled "The Arranged Marriage of Haiku and Cinema," which is inspired by Jane's filmic technique ("zoom-in") introduced in her essay above.

  3. My husband told me recently that this is his favourite haiku and was trying to remember where he read it when I heard you were putting it up here, Chen-ou, so it saved a bit of searching!

    I also love this one. It is memorable because it is so visual and, although Jane informed me on the AHA forum recently that she saw this pony and his shadow in Germany, she could easily have been describing a scene from Donegal, here in Ireland. Lovely :)


  4. Marion:

    Glad this haiku is your husband's favorite one. I like Jane's haiku very much. Just like your said, "It is memorable because it is so visual."

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful thought.